SC orders removal of security barricades outside Sharifs’ residences, other sites

LAHORE, Feb 11 (INP): Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has ordered the removal of security barricades from several key sites in the city, including the residences of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The orders came on Sunday as a three-member apex court bench began hearing its suo motu case on several issues of public welfare, including provision of clean drinking water, for which Shehbaz was present in the court’s Lahore Registry.

The court ordered the authorities to remove barricades outside Nawaz’s Jati Umra residence, Shehbaz’s Model Town residence and office, Governor House, Aiwan-e-Iqbal, the residence and seminary — Jamia Al Qadsia — of Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, residence of late Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, Qilla Gujjar Singh Police Station, passport office and other sites.

The chief justice also directed the home department to assure the bench that the barricades will be removed by midnight tonight.

When the additional home secretary explained to the court that the barricades have been erected due to security concerns, the chief justice remarked, “I have threats too, you should alert your forces”.

The chief justice observed further that they will review the issue of barricades outside offices of security agencies and then make a decision on their removal.

Chief Justice Nisar admonished security officers for keeping elected representatives confined at home, observing that the “CM is an awaami aadmi [man of the people], he should say ‘Shehbaz Sharif is not scared of anyone'”.

When the chief justice asked Shehbaz if they are right in saying this, the Punjab chief minister replied in the affirmative.

Chief Justice Nisar then remarked that the point is not to indulge in politics, adding that the judiciary and executive need to work together to safeguard public’s rights.

He also thanked Shehbaz for appearing in court today.

During the hearing, the chief minister informed the court about the various power and water development projects underway in Punjab, which was appreciated by the bench.

Addressing Shehbaz, the chief justice remarked that whoever comes to power should seriously consider making him the prime minister, to which Shehbaz replied: “Why are you after my job”.

The chief justice responded that “your own people are after you”. The chief justice also remarked during the hearing that, “I assure you there will be free and fair elections in the country from now on. I keep repeating this”.

With regards to the clean water case, the chief justice remarked that the water in his own chamber was found contaminated. Shehbaz assured the court to resolve the problem.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif sought three-week time to submit a comprehensive plan to address the issue of drainage of polluted water in the provincial capital of Punjab.

The chief minister appeared before the bench in response to its notice.

At the outset, he said that he respected the judiciary and was among those who struggled for its independence.

On this, the chief justice asked him why he didn’t advise his party in this regard.

When asked about measures he had taken to address the issue of polluted water, the chief minister sought three-week time to submit a comprehensive plan.

“You have been in power for the last ten years, yet we have to take notice over issues,” observed the CJP.